It is a fact, well known and uncontroversial, that most men will at some point in their lives encounter the modern scourge that is wheeled travel luggage. Don’t get us wrong, luggage with wheels has its uses: it makes transporting large quantities of belongings easy; and often provides excellent protection for fragile cargo such as camera lenses or objets d’art. However, it doesn’t exactly scream “the spirit of travel”; especially in circumstances entailing a quick getaway or a weekend sojourn to the country.
Ideally, the act of travel should be a stylish and romantic one; and as David Coggins (author of the New York Times bestseller Men and Style) astutely observes “there’s always a time in a trip going up a bridge, across cobblestones, hurrying to catch a train, when you’ll wish you packed lighter and wheel-free”. Put that advice to good use with 8 of our favourite travel bags: made to accommodate a lightweight and smartly edited wardrobe that you can sling over your shoulder at a moment’s notice.
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We’ve mentioned Bennett Winch in passing, but it bears repeating that this British bag maker is producing some of the most ruggedly handsome travel luggage on the market. The brand’s poster child is the Weekender: a contemporary take on the classic zipper-top duffle, made using 24-oz bonded canvas and military grade webbing. Conceived with the serial traveller in mind, the Weekender is capacious enough for a 72-hour sojourn, complete with two isolated waterproof compartments (great for footwear) and a padded internal laptop sleeve. Available in a handful of colourways, the olive drab is our definite go-to: the ultimate complement to your workwear ensemble and open-topped coupé.
HK$4,386 (approx.) from Mr Porter
Under the stewardship of Mr. Daniel Lee (formerly head of Ready-to-Wear at Céline), Bottega Veneta has gone from strength to strength these last few years, doubling down on materially distinctive designs like this striking leather holdall. Perfect for the couture-loving jet setter, it harmonises a variety of decorative elements like full grain calf leather and intrecciato, the twist-weaving technique which has been a specialty of the Maison since the 1960s. For a travel bag that is as handsome as it is bottomless (the holdall is about 10.4 inches deep) this is a strong contender.
HK$30,750 from Matches Fashion
Hedonists often tout the tactile pleasures of calfskin, but permanent satisfaction comes from robust dependability — a fact that’s particularly true of travel bags. For weekend warriors whose adventures take place off the beaten track, Filson’s rugged duffles have long been a secret favourite. Manufactured using water-resistant twill and decorated with rust-proof trimmings (i.e. zippers, snap fasteners), this “Made in America” staple has been delighting travellers for decades. With Filson’s famous lifetime guarantee, every repair is an opportunity to add character to an innately robust, pioneering design.
HK$3,655 (approx.) from Mr Porter
Mulberry’s ‘Clipper’ holdall has long been a popular choice for the man who favours subtlety over brash declarations of personal taste. The tan scotchgrain is handsomely complemented by a full suede interior — more than capable of storing a weekend’s worth of clothing, documents and incidentals. For situations when the full 34.5L capacity isn’t being put to use, the Clipper features a clever harnessing system which allows the bag’s ends to be pinched tight, creating distinctive pleat-like folds.
HK$11,818 (approx.) from Mr Porter
Italian heritage brand Valextra is renowned for crafting covetable leather handbags (namely, the Serie S) yet its expertise also extends to medium-sized articles like this duffle. Cast in a sumptuous shade of navy — hand-applied to ensure better coverage and protection — the Boston’s many smooth uninterrupted lines speak to the same modish visual style we’ve all come to expect from the brand. The main compartment is fastened using a top-zipper, and made even more secure by the inclusion of an overhead storm flap — a clever design feature that provides an additional layer of security against inclement weather and sudden shifts in the overhead compartment.
HK$29,891 (approx.) from Mr Porter
Drawing together stylistic elements from the tote, doctor’s bag and briefcase, the ‘sea’ bag is Connolly’s excellent, slightly offbeat entry in the emerging field of ‘in-between bags’ — versatile pieces as viable at the office as they are on weekend getaways. Characterised by a fluid silhouette and vintage palladium hardware, you’ll find the basic idea is similar to a holdall. A large compartment (complete with internal pocket) can be used to store electronics and a change of clothes, while an external zipper pocket provides easy access to personal essentials such as your wallet or passport.
$25,073 (approx.) from Lane Crawford
Since 1988, Maison Margiela has been credited with repeatedly rejecting the conventions of the traditional fashion space — a mindset that’s still much in evidence across all of the brand’s 23 lines, including travel accessories. In the style of the ‘Replica’ trainer, this Margiela duffle flips the script with a construction that is majority cotton textile, minority leather. The vibrant rust-coloured body is overlaid with panels of suede, patched on one side with the traditional gridded 3 x 8 Margiela logo.
$11,626 (approx.) from Yoox
Though cashmere is king at Brunello Cucinelli, the Solomeo brand’s latest holdall proves there’s no premium material beyond the skilful manipulation of its artisans. Crafted in the style of a traditional cylinder duffle, this holdall is a simple and decadent travel bag which will look a million bucks in the backseat of an E-type (preferably cruising down the Côte D’Azur). It’s made in Italy to Cucinelli’s exacting internal standards, featuring a construction that is 90 percent suede — shaded in a multitudinous mixture of tan, cream and mocha neutrals.
HK$32,300 from Matches Fashion